In yet another incident targeting Muslim women, photos of hundreds of them were uploaded by an unidentified group on an app using GitHub – by the name of 'Bulli Bai' – on Saturday, 1 January.
After one of the women, a Delhi-based journalist, whose photo was misused, filed a complaint with the Delhi Police, the latter's Cyber Police (South East Delhi) on Sunday registered an FIR under Sections 354A (sexual harassment), 509 (word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman), 153A (promoting enmity on grounds of religion), and 153B (imputations prejudicial to national integration).
Details of the matter have also been shared with the Maharashtra cyber team, the state's nodal agency for cyber security and cybercrime investigations, that has filed charges under Sections 153A, 153B, 295A, 354D, 509, 500 of the IPC and Section 67 of the IT Act.
"Dehli Police has sought information from Twitter about the account that first tweeted about 'Bulli Bai' app and asked it to remove offensive content related to the controversy. We also sought information from GitHub platform about 'Bulli Bai' app developer," police sources tol news agency ANI.
This comes nearly six months after the 'Sulli Deals' controversy – where a similar ploy was applied, asserting selective misogyny. Notably, no concrete action has been taken against the perpetrators in the case, despite two FIRs – one in Delhi and another in Uttar Pradesh.
While 'Sulli' or 'Sulla' is a derogatory term used for Muslims, 'Bulli' is most likely a spin on the term.
What is The 'Bulli Bai' App?
GitHub is essentially a hosting platform, with a repository of open-source codes. The app 'Bulli Bai', like 'Sulli Deals', was also created and used on GitHub.
"The app works just the same way as Sulli Deals. Once you open it, you randomly find a Muslim woman's face and display it as a 'Bulli Bai.' I am tired of this, and not how I imagined starting my New Year," a woman, whose photo has been displayed, told The Quint.
Screenshots from the app were shared from three handles – @/Bullibai_ @/sage0x11 @/wannabesigmaf.
There is no clarity on whether or not the app has been removed from GitHub. The platform has also not issued a statement of clarification.
'Fear and Disgust'
The Wire journalist Ismat Ara, who is one of the women named in the app, said that Muslim women have had to start the year with a "sense of fear and disgust."
She tweeted later to inform that she had filed a complaint on the matter with the Cyber Cell of the Delhi Police.
Several handles, including that of AIMIM Chief and MP Asaduddin Owaisi, condemned the incident, calling for action against the perpetrators.
What's the Status of 'Sulli Deals' Case?
Five months after the Delhi and Uttar Pradesh police filed two different FIRs in the 'Sulli Deals' controversy, the case has reached a standstill with no progress in either arrest or investigation.
Shiv Sena's Rajya Sabha MP Priyanka Chaturvedi, who is one of the few politicians urging the Centre to take 'stringent action', told The Quint: "Frankly, there are some issues that should rise above politics. More so when you hold a constitutional position of heading the Ministry of Women and Child Development. Speaking for rights of women – no matter which religion they belong to – is the duty of the minister."
Chaturvedi further asked if the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology could summon other platforms like Twitter and Facebook, why not do the same for GitHub.
The Quint had reached out to both the Delhi and the Uttar Pradesh Police in September 2021, but is yet to receive a response on the status of the case.